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In my Hotel…

Hi again!

I hope this helps you guys next time you have to deal with wi-fi that’s a little short of fi. Or maybe its best function is as a warning to others. In the latter case, here’s the TL;DR takeaway: sometimes a problem isn’t worth solving.

Anyway: last night was…somewhat irritating. I tried to get some work done. Really, I did. However…

  • Teenagers. In the hallway. (I just shot them. Nothing else would have worked.)
  • “Free wi-fi” that redirects to a “You MUST agree to our terms AGAIN” page every 30 minutes or so. In that context, I highly recommend the iMacros extension for Firefox. A couple of hints: “WAIT SECONDS=1000” introduces a useful delay when looping, and “SET !ERRORIGNORE YES” (although bass-ackward to my taste) will get around any slow-to-load page components. (The script will exit after waiting 60 secs for page load otherwise.)
  • ssh 8080 -D username@my_server_address. Okay, this is for Linux people, but here’s the short version: it creates a tunnel to a server somewhere, assuming you have access to such a thing. Internet browsing then happens from the remote server–so the hotel can’t block sites. Otherwise maybe something like Anonymizer might work, though I’d actually recommend:
  • Tor. Go read about it. It’s often slow, but try the Tor browser bundle anyway. You can combine the pleasure of being slightly subversive with actually helping others. Neat, I say. Just configure yourself as a relay, and it’s instant good karma.
  • If you happen to decide to give up on the hotel wi-fi entirely, but you can make your iPhone into an access point to share its 3g connection–aka tethering–but you’re sharing the room with someone whose computer isn’t allowed to connect to an “ad-hoc” network…maybe you should give up. Watch a movie. If, though, you have what people call a wireless router, you can share your laptop’s wired connection via the router (turning off DHCP on the router) & connect your laptop to the iPhone’s wi-fi. Then that other person can connect to the “infrastructure” network provided by your router. Is this really how I spend my time? Why?

Okay. Did I actually need all of that last night? No. If I’d known what my final solution would look like, I’d have gone right to it. But next time you’re in a hotel room with lousy wi-fi, and you want to work, maybe these ideas will help.

Or not. Especially the thing about the teenagers.

Maybe tonight will be better?

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